NORMAN — Whether he’s on the friendly confines of Owen Field, a neutral madhouse like the Cotton Bowl or on the road at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley might be the safest man in America on any given fall Saturday.
That’s because when it’s gameday, Riley’s bodyguard is Brian Orr.
Orr, 45, is the Oklahoma Highway Patrolman assigned to protect the Sooners football coach. He’s 6-2, 240 pounds of muscle on muscle, a brawny and brave sentinel with an eagle eye and razor wit, a former small college linebacker who patrols rural byways and Sooner sidelines with equal square-jawed seriousness.
When Riley shakes hands with Matt Campbell or Tom Herman or Bill Snyder — or if Riley should ever come across an unruly fan — Orr cuts an imposing figure over the coach’s shoulder.
“He’s funny,” Riley says of Orr, “but you can see when he kind of clicks into that mode, too: When it’s business time, he’s all business.”
Orr isn’t alone in his duties; he’s actually just the most prominent member of the security detail assigned to Riley. Although less visible than Orr, the man in charge of coordinating Riley’s safety — and for the previous 11 years, the safety of Bob Stoops — is University of Oklahoma Police Department Master Sgt. Steve Chandler. Orr jokes that Chandler is the brains of the outfit, while he’s the brawn.
Franchise host and columnist John E. Hoover was granted special access to a full day ride along on Orr’s patrol shift as well as on the Sooners’ police escort on game day. To read the rest of Hoover’s profile at Sporting News, click here: